Harry lay in his bed at the Burrow and felt the strangest feeling inside him.
He didn't know what to do with the rest of his life. He didn't expect to have one. There was auror trainingor going back to Hogwarts to complete school, Hermione was all for that plan herself, but he just didn't know what he wanted from his prophesy-free life now. He had no mortal enemy and didn't really remember how to conduct a life without one.
He chuckled at this thought and turned over to face Ron's empty bed.
Ron wasn't supposed to be with Hermione in her room but he was. She was much better now, she still reached out for him whenever he was close enough to touch and tried to keep him in her sight as much as possible but she was allowing him to have time away from her without nearly as much anxiety as she had been displaying at first. She had done exactly what she had said she was going to do and destroyed the bond of blood forever in the twin's stone chest. She had told them all about the final battle and they had come to St Mungo's with her to visit Ron.
Ron had one hell of a fever, Malfoy hadn't held back when Ron had explained to him that the sicker he was the more power Dumbledore would be able to channel when he possessed him, and he had been unconscious for a whole day afterwards. When he eventually came round he was pretty much drowned with feminine affection and smothering as first Hermione, then Mrs Weasley and then Ginny began to war over which of them was going to be his primary care-giver. Ron had even become so annoyed with this behaviour he went back to the Lavender defence he had used after his poisoning the previous year, pretending to be asleep!
He had even gone to visit Snape one afternoon to see how he was doing with his magical false arm. He had made some comment about it being like Moody's fake eye and wondered aloud if students would start calling him 'Scary Arm Snape'. Snape had given Ron one of his coldest looks of disapproval at this and Ron had made his apologies and left, only to find Draco Malfoy doubled up with laughter outside the door where he had been eavesdropping.
They had come back to the Burrow, where a huge party was in full swing, and finally the three of them were safe and sound back at home...yes it was Harry's home now...for the first night in a long time. Harry and Ginny had even talked about resuming their relationship when Ginny got back home from school for the summer.
Harry sighed deeply and settled into his soft pillow, closing his heavy eyelids and letting sleep take him over.
Then he heard the door creak and squinted over to the two figures silhouetted in the doorway. Harry put on his glasses and reached for his wand, lighting the tip and mumbling when he heard Hermione's sob.
"Oh you two can't go one night without upsetting one another? Why do I have to be woken up just because you've had a fight?"
Harry pointed his illuminated wand at Ron and Hermione, still framed by the open door, and felt suddenly sick to his stomach.
Hermione was dangling about a foot off the landing, her feet desperately searching for something to put her weight upon, while silently pleading to Harry through her rapidly purpling tear-stained face as Ron held her up off the ground by the throat with one hand.
"Ron what are you doing? Put her down you're killing her!"
Harry suddenly saw what Hermione was trying to warn him about through her bloodshot watery eyes. Ron's eyes weren't glazed though, he wasn't sleepwalking, but he wasn't Ron either.
"Dumbledore's not the only one who knows how to use an oracle Potter," Ron smiled cruelly as his eyes flashed red, "we've got some unfinished business to attend to."
A/N I warned you I was going to be cruel didn't I? You should know by now not to put my warnings down to egotistical exaggeration!
So as I said in an earlier note, this is the end of this fic but please don't abuse me for leaving you on a cliff-hanger, I am writing a companion fic re telling this story from Ron's P.O.V. and the ending to that will give you closure on this story. I've just always wanted to write something with an open-ended final paragraph like that so I figured back to back versions of the same plot was the best opportunity I'd ever get as that keeps my suspense going throughout the second fic.
So I actually managed to complete it before flying out tomorrow...how's that for meeting a deadline eh? Keep your eyes open for the Ron fic appearing at the end of January, it's going to be called The Man Who Wasn't There (yes I have seen the film but it's just the title and not anything to do with a barber wanting to be a dry cleaner!) Said man of course being Dumbledore. There are also a couple of one-shots I've got a rough draft of, one sappy The Incidentals and one that is me trying to write without plunging too far into angst called Lost For Words that's more of a Harry/Ron freindship fic so keep your eyes open for them late Jan too.
So many thanks to the following who are more than just reviewers, they are constructive and encouraging and the best motivation a writer can have:
Scrib (we're stalking each other's fics now!)
Rupertlovesme and her sister Dansgirl34...you guys are fantastic and always make me chuckle!
Baka No Katsu
Pugui - I got your PM but it doesn't allow you to write links so I can't look at your cover, I'll get in touch when I'm back from Thailand.
Jackie from Aus - You can tell I'm a scriptwriter can't you? Dialogue is easy, descriptive details are good but I always worry that I'm rambling too much. Maybe I'll try another one shot where the lead character doesn't say a word like Cross-town Traffic...although very few people actually got that the two silent people in the Anglia were actually Ron and Hermione!
Kuko-chan - ALWAYS a pleasure to hear from you
Bob the crazy fish
Lots of good thoughts go out to you all for 2006 and I'll get writing again when I get back from, what I've christened, the wake for my 20's!